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Quick Takes: Danielle Steel’s former assistant sentenced to almost three years

Also: Comedy Central signs Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert to new deals.

Steel’s crime story

Danielle Steel’s former assistant was sentenced in San Francisco on Tuesday to nearly three years in prison for embezzling almost $1 million from the romance novelist.

Kristy Watts worked for 15 years and earned an annual salary of $200,000 for part-time work that included handling Steel’s payroll and accounting.

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The 48-year-old wife of a San Francisco police officer pleaded guilty last year to depositing numerous checks made out to “cash” in her own bank account, using the author’s credit card rewards points and paying herself more than her salary.

—Associated Press

Cable hosts get new contracts

One television network has its late-night lineup locked up.

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Comedy Central announced Tuesday that hosts Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have both signed individual extensions of their contracts. Stewart will continue to host “The Daily Show” through June 2013, while Colbert will remain at the helm of “The Colbert Report” through the end of 2012.

The new deals mean both Stewart and Colbert will be in place for the 2012 presidential election.

—Matea Gold

Exhibit honors Apollo venue

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Michael Jackson’s fedora, Ella Fitzgerald’s dress and Louis Armstrong’s trumpet are together in a Washington exhibit celebrating the famed Apollo Theater that helped these stars to shine.

The Smithsonian’s not-yet-built black history museum is bringing New York’s Harlem landmark to the U.S capital. The first exhibit focuses on the Apollo, where many musical careers were launched. It opens Friday at the National Museum of American History.

Curators are showcasing some newly acquired items for the museum slated to open in 2015 on the National Mall, including the hat from Jackson’s 1984 Victory Tour, which museum officials said was purchased at a recent auction.

—Associated Press

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Douglas’ son gets five years

A judge sentenced Michael Douglas’ son to five years in prison Tuesday for dealing methamphetamine from a trendy Manhattan hotel, calling it his “last chance to make it.”

U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman announced the sentence in New York after hearing 31-year-old Cameron Douglas ask for mercy as his Academy Award-winning father and mother, Diandra, listened behind him in a packed courtroom.

“I’d like to apologize to my family and my loved ones for putting them through this nightmare of my making,” Douglas said.

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The Hollywood scion and admitted heroin addict also was ordered to forfeit $300,000. A pre-sentence report listed his net worth as $500,000.

Berman noted that he had read at least 37 letters of support from family — including his film legend grandfather, Kirk, stepmother Catherine Zeta-Jones and NBA executive Pat Riley — friends and supporters who “believe he has finally bottomed out in terms of his addiction and may be ready to turn his life around.” But the judge expressed doubt Douglas would turn his back on drugs after pleading guilty in January to conspiracy to distribute drugs.

“In my estimation, that will be a very difficult chore,” he said. “I think this case and this sentencing may well be his last chance to make it.”

The conspiracy charge carried a mandatory 10 years in prison, but the judge said the government had agreed that Douglas qualified for a lesser sentence. It had been revealed at a pretrial hearing that Douglas had tried to cooperate.

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—Associated Press

Finally

Launch date: California Adventure has set June 11 for the unveiling of its new World of Color attraction, a nighttime show that involves projecting scenes from Disney films such as “The Lion King” and “The Little Mermaid” onto water screens provided by nearly 1,200 fountains.

Back for more: Larry David has agreed to produce and star in another 10-episode season of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” for HBO.... NBC has ordered a second season of “Parenthood”.... FX’s “Rescue Me” will return for its sixth season on June 29, then will unspool its final nine episodes in 2011.

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‘Avatar’ returns: Even though “Avatar” is coming out on DVD this week, writer-director James Cameron says he hopes to rerelease the film to theaters in August with six minutes of new footage.


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